Clear Creek ISD internal audit finds 91% accuracy in COVID-19-related exclusions among students, staff

One of the Clear Creek ISD supervisor’s goals for 2021-22, as approved by the board, is to have 90% of student exceptions fall within district standards, which align with Texas Education Agency and Texas Department of Health Services guidelines. (courtesy Pexels)

Clear Creek ISD has an accuracy of 91% on COVID-19-related exceptions for students and staff, according to the results of an internal audit released in mid-November.

The trustees agreed to a set of supervisor goals in October, with one goal including ongoing audits for COVID-19-related exceptions. The goal was to analyze whether too few or too many students and staff have been driven off campus due to pandemic protocols.

The supervisor’s goal for 2021-22, as approved by the board, is for 90% of student exceptions to fall within district standards, which align with Texas Education Agency and Texas Department of Health Services guidelines. This means, for now, that CCISD is achieving its own goal.

In general, the auditor found that CCISD nurses exclude students and staff based on their professional assessment of symptoms and [10] days per district protocol,” the first page of the audit reads. “Deviations from zone policy were minimal.”

Internal auditor Julie Smith interviewed the following people, according to audit documents:

  • Assistant Director of the Department of Health Services and Head Nurse;
  • campus nurses at Brookwood Elementary School, Gilmore Elementary, Ross Elementary, Mossman Elementary, Landolt Elementary, Bayside Intermediate, League City Intermediate, Space Center Intermediate, Clear Creek High School, and Clear Lake High School;
  • Student Data Services Manager. And
  • One network technician/programmer working on the COVID-19 dashboard in the region.

Smith also reviewed several internal documents, including sample cases in the dashboard; Policies and procedures used by campus nurses to perform case data entry and case management tasks; Current versions of the CCISD exclusion protocol were distributed to parents and staff; and current requirements for COVID-19 exclusion and reporting from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, the TEA, and the DSHS.

The range of cases included a random sample of 10% of all cases entered into the dashboard from September 20 through October 20, a total of 805 cases entered during that time period, which means Smith reviewed 81 random cases.

Of those 81 cases, a review of 46 putative positive or positive cases identified zero over-exclusion errors and five under-exclusion errors. A review of eight negative cases resulted in 100% efficacy of the district protocol, and a review of 27 cases of exclusion revealed two errors.

Based on these findings, Smith recommended the area improve its communications and, in some cases, applications of technology to increase accuracy rates in the future. According to the audit report, for example, apps including Skyward and Kronos could be used by employees to alert supervisors if a student or employee is on campus when they aren’t supposed to be.

The audit also recommended reviewing the guidelines provided to parents, so they know how to report positive cases directly to the campus nurse. For employees, Smith recommended the district redistribute COVID-19 leave information and stress the need for a lab test if they want to qualify for COVID-19 leave.

The schedule or quantity of subsequent interim audits can be adjusted from now on, according to the audit documentation. CCISD considers the integrity of COVID-19 data collection, reporting, and exclusion practices to be vital in its efforts with virus surveillance, vital for parents and staff as they make informed decisions, and vital in forecasting classroom closures or adjusted operations, according to the audit.


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